IAR Trichy celebrates its first Anniversary
By Dr Deike Schacht, veterinary surgeon
The clinic of International Animal Rescue at Trichy celebrated its first anniversary on 4 April 2006. We look back on a very busy and fulfilling year, conducting Animal Birth Control and Anti-Rabies Vaccination for street dogs (ABC-AR), rescuing sick street dogs and rehoming a good number of street puppies.
From small beginnings
In April 2005 we only performed 35 sterilisations. We struggled and struggled with our unreliable dog vehicle and really got into trouble once the rainy season set in since the strong wind during summer ruined the new coconut leaf roof of our kennel block.
We have grown fast
One year has passed since then and we have established a good routine, the team is working well together and we sterilised 133 dogs in April 2006. So far 860 street dogs have been sterilised and vaccinated against rabies, all coming from the south western zone of Trichy. As it is becoming difficult to catch ’fresh’ dogs from these areas we are now moving towards the south eastern zone. Once a week the catchers of the Trichy Corporation catch for us in highly populated areas. On other days our own team - Anuthaa and Siva Mani - are maintaining the ’old’ areas since we never catch all the bitches in one place. And we get so many requests to go to other areas...
Additional treatment makes the difference
Life has changed for many of the dogs and bitches going through the programme and living on the streets again - no litters of pups after ABC and better health resulting from additional treatment for mange, demodicosis, pyoderma, maggots and intestinal worms. But sometimes it is difficult to make a difference: a good number of street dogs are former purebred pets or their offspring that were thrown out because the owner moved house or for some other ridiculous reason for getting rid of a pet. Often these dogs have long, fluffy fur which is not very well adapted to living without a weekly bath.
What to do?
It is almost impossible to find new owners for adult dogs in Trichy. It is a business town and well known for its two important temples. Only a few western tourists come here and when they do come they don’t stay long. No foreigners live here who could adopt dogs that nobody else wants. Locals don’t go for adult dogs. This means all adult dogs have to go back on the streets as quickly as possible to get the kennels ready for the next batch. Male dogs stay normally for 2 days and females for 3-7 days unless they require further treatment. But we’re pleased to have rehomed as many as 60 street dog puppies. Slowly, slowly people are realising that it makes sense to go for a dog that is well adapted to these extreme weather conditions, with 45 degrees Celsius for several months of the year, rather than going for a fluffy one. Local dogs have survived for generations on the streets and are often more obedient and easier to control than ferocious watchdogs. It is often astonishing that most owners have so little knowledge about dogs and their needs, but they still manage. And the pets manage too!
The increasing popularity of IAR-Trichy results in more rescue calls. Whenever the driver and the dog transporter are available they will go out and pick up dogs that need a helping hand. A lot of dogs are paralysed or crippled or infected with canine distemper. It’s difficult.
In November 2005, as part of the inauguration of a new Animal Welfare Society in Trichy, we organised an exhibition on ABC-AR, general care, health and training of pet dogs. In the future it would be desirable to invest more (wo)manpower and time into this kind of work. We will have to work on this.
We have got to know quite a few helpful people in the past 12 months - vets, social workers, distributors of medicine, animal food suppliers. In their own way they all help to make such a clinic run more efficiently and more cost-effectively and with a good outcome for our patients. We meet regularly with the officials of the town to ensure they’re kept abreast of our ABC-AR work. They are very keen to cooperate and hopefully one day in the near future ABC will be carried out all over Trichy. At the moment they are sending their catchers once or twice a week to get us new dogs. We have made a lot of friends and undoubtedly we have made some enemies too, since some of them still regard killing the dogs as a reasonable solution. We were so lucky to get a good vehicle to transport our street dogs, which was given to us by International Animal Rescue. Many thanks!
More work - and more workers
We welcome Dr Anandagiri from Trichy as Honorary Veterinary Surgeon, who always has an ear for our problems and a solution on hand, and Dr Padmavathy, graduate from Chennai Veterinary College who is employed with us now and is doing extremely well performing surgery and dealing with the day to day cases. Welcome! A warm welcome as well to Mr Kumarasamy, attendant, who is in charge of kennels, kitchen and surgery.
Limited kennel space - what to do in the future?
Since our funds and kennel space are very limited we want to establish monthly field clinics in the Trichy area where we will conduct ABC-AR for more dogs. Dogs in good condition will be released immediately. We will keep you posted. The first Field Clinic was held at Vasan Nagar & Extn. from 25-29 April 2006. We sterilised and vaccinated 100 dogs.
Thanks for your support to IAR!
Dr Deike Schacht, MD and Senior Vet Surgeon Mr SA Anutha Santh, driver and allrounder Mr Siva Mani, attendant, catcher and nursing expert Mrs Saroja, maintenance - part-time Mr Nawaneethan - emergency part-time